Day 796: Turning 30

Rachel, Day by Day

201607071101

Me throughout the years.

All this time I thought I was going to dread turning 30, but I’m not worried about it at the moment. I mean, so many things happened in my 20s and I thought it would be difficult to close that chapter in my life… graduated college, first real job, first legal alcoholic drink, first car, first apartment on my own, first real relationship, first time I fell in love (or thought it was at the time), first time I actually fell in love, first house, first smartphone, first (and only) marriage, first kid, and so on. A lot can happen in 10 years.

201607071103

Me throughout the years.

It’s really strange looking back. There are certain parts of my 20s I won’t miss. The bad dates and relationships in my early 20s, a horrible relationship that hurt me badly and I thought had scarred me for life, losing loved ones, being apart from my husband for a little while, struggling through every-day stresses and drama of being a young adult, and so on. The first week living on my own, I was almost robbed in the middle of the night and now I’m kind of afraid to leave windows open. I went through my 20s without my dad and somehow made it through. I lost a lot of close family members in this decade (Grandma, Uncle Pat, Aunt Carol, Grandpa) and I miss them every day.

201607071105

Me throughout the years.

While there were some bad times, I’m getting somewhat sentimental remembering the good times. I was able to live with some amazing friends during college and I’m glad I live closer to them today! It’s crazy thinking how we used to stay out until 3 a.m. many nights; I don’t think I could do that now! We had some awesome and silly times together. I met some great friends at my first real job, and sadly we are all scattered in different places now. I stayed in touch with some high school friends, which has been great. I went on a lot of awesome trips with my mom, Ray, and other family members, and had many fun nights with them in general. I met the love of my life during college and later married him. I got some great in-laws out of this, too! Our child recently came into this world and it’s been wonderful getting to know him and having him in my life. I went on some great trips with friends and family, including Mexico, Michigan, Las Vegas, a road trip to California, Cedar Point, a cruise, San Antonio, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Paris, Miami Beach, Punta Cana, Ireland, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and so on! I swam with dolphins, met the Stanley Cup, found a Corner Bakery not on a corner, went to numerous Cubs games, met Jonathan Toews numerous times, saw friends and family members get married, went parasailing, climbed up the steps of Notre Dame Cathedral, saw the Grand Canyon, got engaged, got married, had a child, and much more.

201607071106

Me throughout the years.

Even with the bad times, I know I’ll be able to look back on my 20s and smile. They are definitely a time for learning and growing. I don’t regret the bad relationships and I don’t feel stupid about them anymore. In fact, I came out of them a stronger and more confident person (I could still work on the confidence part just a little bit). I used to be so naïve in my early 20s, and feel like I’m out of that phase now. But, I’m still the silly, weird, caring, worrisome, funny, loving, sensitive girl from birth. Just a little bit older. So this decade made me part of who I am today.

What do I look forward to in my 30s? Definitely watching my son grow and taking him to new places. Spending time with family and friends. Spending time with my wonderful and amazing husband. Going to Cuba (which would be absolutely amazing). And watching the Cubs win the World Series. The Blackhawks could win another Stanley Cup, too.

Day 794: My Grandpa

Rachel, Day by Day

RBpic030

Grandma, Grandpa, and me after I was baptized in 1986.

After 88 years of living an amazing life, my grandpa passed away this past Saturday. I was able to visit him a lot in the hospital and be there as he left this world. I’m still in shock since he seemed fine just a few weeks ago. This is going to be tough for a while, and I’m going to miss my regular Thursday night visits with him. We’ve been having them for over a year now, ever since I moved back to the area. After my first ever Thursday visit, he called me just to make sure I got home OK. That was sweet.

EK_0273

My family and I on vacation. I was tiny! From left to right: Me, Grandpa, Uncle Pat, Grandma, and Ray.

I’ve never met a man so kind and caring toward others. He always put his family and friends before himself. He took care of my grandma and would help out our family whenever we needed anything. During my last conversation with him, he even looked at me and said, “Hi, baby. I worry about you.” As he was lying there being sick, he worried about me. Only an amazing man like him would do that.

1988039

Ray, Gramps, and me.

My grandpa was one of the many contributors that helped make my childhood so wonderful. He’d take Ray and I out on the bike and we’d get TCBY yogurt all the time. I remember sitting behind him on his bike when I couldn’t ride my own yet. His pants would start falling down, so I’d pull them up for him. And then I’d shout to him, “Hey Gramps, I just wanted to let you know I pulled up your pants for you.” He’d shout back, “OK!” He probably thought I was extremely silly.

EK_0253

Ray and I helping Grandpa clean up the Prairie Path.

My family and I went on numerous vacations with him, to Wisconsin, North Carolina, Nebraska, Michigan, and so on. I’m so thankful to have many photos and memories with him. He’d go to all of my sporting events, band concerts, and so on as I grew up and he would cheer me on. He was always there at graduations and birthday parties, too. We’d have family game nights with him, my grandma, and others; those were always my favorite nights.

EK_0224

Me, Gramps, and Grandma.

When I was being confirmed in the Catholic Church, some family members wrote letters to me. Gramps wrote me a sweet letter about how he was proud of the woman I had become. I’ll never forget the last line because it made me cry at the time. He wrote, “My littlest angel has grown up.” It still touches my heart.

EK_0141

A family photo! My mom and dad are standing in the back. From left to right in the front: Me, Gramps, Ray, and Grandma.

Gramps loved to go on the Internet and Facebook. He especially loved looking for new recipes. Years ago, he sent me this email that makes me smile: “I went on Google and typed in rabbits, and one of the answers was pages and pages of little bunny rabbits. Are you aware of this? Love, Grandpa.” He knew me so well.

EK_0187

Me, my cousin Emily, Gramps, and Ray at an Illini football game.

During my last conversation with him, I was able to tell him our baby’s full name. I did so while holding his hand and forehead, and as tears ran down my face, but I was able to get it out. I asked him if he liked it and he nodded his head. He then said, “Wow, that’s a beautiful name.” I then told him I loved him over and over again. As I was leaving for the night, he told me he loved me and said, “Thanks for the great honor.” So, as of now, Scott, Gramps, and I are the only three people that know the baby’s name. And it’s tearing my heart apart, in both a good and bad way.

IMG_0352

Me, Gramps, and Scott on vacation in Michigan.

It’s going to be extremely difficult going on in life without him. But I know I’ll feel him around occasionally and he’ll be watching over all of us. I know he’s happy to be with his wife and son. Gramps, you were one of the greatest men I’ve ever known, and I will miss you and love you always.

 

Day 793: January and February Update

Rachel, Day by Day

IMG_20160211_181457820

36-week baby bump!

Hello, friends. I thought it seemed about the right time for an update. Life has been busy and full of ups and downs lately. I can’t believe so many things in life can change in a split second right before your eyes, and you barely have time to see it coming. There’s a glimpse into how things have been lately.

First, I’ll talk about politics, but I’ll be very brief. I’m tired of hearing the name Trump and looking at his face. I never thought he’d last this long. Who’s with me?! Ugh, that’s all I have to say about this at the moment. Except I’m proud of what Obama is accomplishing with Cuba. And I want to meet the Obamas someday. That’s a new life goal.

Here’s a list of highlights and lowlights over the last many weeks.

  • I had a very nice baby shower at Wildfire Restaurant near the end of January with my family and friends. The food was delicious! We played Bingo, mingled, ate awesome food, and got some amazing presents for Baby. Everyone has been way too generous! Thanks to my mom for putting it together!

    IMG_7659

    Baby Shower at Wildfire!

  • Scott and I have slowly been able to have friends over at our new place over the past few months! Too bad we don’t have time for a housewarming party. Maybe after the baby is born.
  • I had another great baby shower a few weeks later with friends and Scott’s family! The decorations and room were adorable; it was a baseball theme! We played some games and ate some awesome baseball park-themed food. I think Baby is doomed to love baseball! Baby got some very nice gifts (except for maybe the Cardinals onesies!) from everyone. Thanks to Stacie, Maggie, and Ashley for throwing such a great shower!

    IMG_7770

    Baby Shower! From left to right: Ashley, me, Stacie, Maggie, Barb, and Kendyl.

  • Scott and I had a small Super Bowl Party in early February with family. I made a lot of yummy appetizers and had some Super Bowl trivia for everyone. We played the squares game, too. Uncle Paul, Uncle John, Sydney, Grandpa, my mom, and Ray were able to come. It was a nice time! I liked Coldplay at halftime, too. My favorite commercial was the Doritos one with the dogs. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VW8PmhTcIJk
  • Sometime in February, I got locked in our half bathroom. The doorknob decided to stop working. I was having a panic attack since it’s a really small bathroom, but Scott was able to get me out. It wasn’t funny at the time, but it is now!
  • Scott and I went to McCormick & Schmick’s Restaurant for Valentine’s Day. They have really good lobster bisque soup! It was a nice evening with my hubby.

    IMG_20160213_213642183

    Flowers Scott sent to me!

  • Scott’s work threw a baby shower for us at Brick House Tavern! That was a really cool place; I’d like to go back sometime. It was great meeting everyone and it was really nice of them.
  • My coworkers threw a little shower for me over lunch last week. It was very nice! They gave Baby some very nice gifts. He is spoiled already. I was very surprised!

    IMG_0572

    Awesome cupcakes from coworkers!

  • On a sadder note, my grandpa passed away this past Saturday. But, I’ll write about that more in another post.

There’s my update for you. Now to go sleep! It’s late.

Day 791: June Through October Update

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 791: June Through October Update

I went to Wisconsin Dells with my family in September!

I realize I haven’t updated in a long time, so I thought I’d just give you the highlights over the past many months! Here you go.

June

  • I got to hang out with Andrea and Kim.
  • Steve visited us to watch a Blackhawks game.
  • Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup and I watched with family!
  • I went to the Blackhawks parade with Hannah and Sydney.
  • We spent Scott’s 30th birthday in Normal. We ate crepes and went to Pub II with family!
  • We celebrated Scott’s birthday by going to a Cubs vs. Cardinals game in St. Louis.
Day 791: June Through October Update

Cubs vs. Cardinals game for Scott’s birthday!

 July

  • I hung out with Brendan, Anne, Kate, and Graham in Lisle.
  • We got to hang out with the Koehlers in the Chicago suburbs!
  • I got to hang out with Mel, Christina, and Brittany more often and see Grace! And…
  • SCOTT AND I FOUND OUT WE ARE HAVING A BABY!!
Day 791: June Through October Update

Our baby announcement!

August

  • We had our first baby ultrasound.
  • Met my new cousin Duncan Keith. Got to see Champaign friends the same day, too!
  • I went to a Cubs vs. Sox game at The Cell. Cubs won!
Day 791: June Through October Update

Our first ultrasound photo.

September

  • Got to take my photo with the Stanley Cup!! Then later that night, I went to the Cubs game with Scott, my mom, and Ray!
  • I went to Wisconsin Dells with family over Labor Day weekend.
  • My friend Stephanie got married on September 12.
  • Went to the Cubs game with Steve!
  • Went to a Cuban restaurant in honor of my dad’s birthday. Scott accepted a new job offer, too!
  • Went to the Apple n’ Pork Fest and saw Kendyl play soccer!
  • Uncle John visited a few times!
Day 791: June Through October Update

Me and the Stanley Cup! We are BFFs!

Day 791: June Through October Update

Cubs game with Steve!!

October

  • Cubs made it far in the playoffs. I’m proud of them!!
  • FOUND OUT ON OCTOBER 31 WE ARE HAVING A BOY!!
  • Buying a new house soon and we close soon.

There you go! And I’ll really try to update more often. Goodnight!

Day 774: Cut

Rachel, Day by Day

February 2015 Photo a Day: Day 25

Day 774: Cut

A tiny cut on my finger.

I’m glad I didn’t get a major cut on my finger, but here’s an extremely tiny one for you. I noticed it on my drive to work this morning and I have no clue where it came from. Can you even see it? It’s on my middle finger. I probably ran my hand into something. This happens to my hands a lot… I get random cuts and scrapes and I don’t know how they got there. I wonder if most of them are paper cuts. Eek. I should brag about my fingernails, though. This is the longest they’ve been in about 2 years! I’m not biting them for a change. Maybe I’m growing up a bit!

Who watches Amazing Race? I didn’t know until last night, but the season premiere is on tonight! And then the show will continue to be on Fridays. I’m excited! I guess this seasons will have a dating twist… we’ll see how that goes.

I’m going to visit my grandpa tonight! It’s always a great time seeing him. 🙂

Enjoy your Wednesday evening.

Day 753: Childhood

Rachel, Day by Day

February 2015 Photo a Day: Day 4

Day 753: Childhood

Meet Samantha!

Welcome to day 4 of my February challenge! Today is a picture from my childhood. I chose to take a photo of Samantha (my American Girl doll) and all of her accessories. I loved her so much in elementary school; I might have even played with her in part of middle school. I took her everywhere with me and always wanted to be near her. We were such good friends! I read all of her books, too.

I remember telling my parents that I wanted an American Girl doll. I didn’t think I’d get one since I heard they were expensive. But, I remember that day when I opened up the Samantha doll kit; I was extremely excited! As you can see, I later got her bed, nightstand, and numerous outfits as gifts. I used to bring her over to friends’ houses and we’d play with our dolls together.

For her closet on the left side of the photo, my wonderful grandpa made that for me from her bed box. He put flowery wallpaper on it to make it look girly and a handle on top so I could carry it around. He also cut double doors for the closet and put hooks on the outside so they would shut. He even put a rod inside so I could hang her clothes. I always loved her closet since no one else had it! It’s one of a kind.

Day 753: Childhood

Our first ever photo together in 1995. From left to right: Samantha, me, and my mom.

I might go play with her now… Have a good night!

Day 748: January Updates

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 748: January Updates

Pretty lights at night!

Why, hello there! It’s been a few weeks since I updated. I know you’ve all been anxious to read what I’ve been up to. 😉

I’ve done a lot of fun things! I went to Zumba class with my mom; visited my grandpa occasionally; went to to the dentist (it wasn’t that fun); went out for nice dinners with Scott; watched football and hockey at Buffalo Wild Wings with Ray, Scott, Roxy, and Soleman; went to trivia night; got a professional massage; watched chick flicks with my mom; visited Scott’s parents; and more!

I actually have an exciting update that will start soon for my blog. I will be doing a February photo challenge! And, if things go well, I might do one every other month this whole year. Think I can do it? We shall see. Here’s the information on the photo I will take each day in February:

Day 748: January Updates

You can click on the Photography Challenges button at the top (or click here) to check out this list again throughout February. So, get ready for way more blog posts next month!

Day 746: Year in Review

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 746: Year in Review

Our first wedding anniversary. 🙂

2014 was a great year! There were many great times with family and friends and I have so much to be thankful for. Time really has flown by and I can’t believe 2014 is almost over. From family gatherings on weekends to a trip to Las Vegas, we did a lot this year! 2014 ending makes me sad in a way. The majority of the year had great times, but there were also some tough times, too. But, I had Scott, family, and friends by my side, which has always been a great feeling. I don’t know what I’d do without them! I am one of the luckiest girls in the world.

Here’s a list of the highlights from 2014 for you!

  • Last New Years Eve: We rang in the New Year at Medici and Maggie Miley’s.
  • I started the Double Take project, but sort of neglected it. Sorry!
  • Kate, Graham, Steve, and Jillian visited to watch a Blackhawks game in January.
  • I needed two fillings, my first fillings ever!
  • My family visited in January and we went to Carl’s ice cream!
  • Ate at Biaggi’s with Scott for Valentine’s Day.
  • Went to the Bloomington Thunder game in February with family and met Tony Esposito!
Day 746: Year in Review

Uncle John meeting Tony Esposito!

  • Celebrated Soleman’s birthday at Kings and Park Tavern in Rosemont in March.
  • Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day parade in March.
  • St. Patrick’s Day parade in Normal and threw a little party!
  • Met Grant Bitzer. He’s such a cutie!
  • Attended the Going Away Party for my cousins Matt and Jackie. (They moved to North Carolina.)
  • Fancy happy hours!
  • Got together with college friends and their husbands in April. Went to Claim Jumper and Beer House.
  • Spent Easter weekend with my family. We colored eggs and ate brunch at Drury Lane.
  • The ending to How I Met Your Mother was awful. Ugh.
  • Spent our first wedding anniversary in Chicago!
  • Went to Cubs vs. Cardinals game in the bleachers at Wrigley. Cubs won!
Day 746: Year in Review

Ready to watch the Cubs win!

  • Spent Mother’s Day weekend with my mom! Went to McCormick and Schmick’s for dinner.
  • Chicago Blackhawks made it to the playoffs but lost. I’m still proud of them!
  • Had a Memorial Day BBQ at our house with my family and Scott’s family.
  • Met Trgyve, my friend Kim’s baby!
  • Cornbelters vs. Bandits baseball game and got to see Soleman.
  • Went to Caden’s baseball game and Kendyl’s soccer game.
  • Jeff’s 60th birthday party!
Day 746: Year in Review

Celebrating Jeff’s (Scott’s dad’s) 60th birthday on a beautiful day.

  • Scott’s birthday: Went to Pub II and had family over for dessert.
  • Saw Jimmy Buffett in Tinley Park!
Day 746: Year in Review

The gang tailgating before the Jimmy Buffet concert!

  • Went to Caden and Kendyl’s birthday parties.
  • July 4th party at family friend’s house.
  • My birthday: Went out with Brendan and Anne for pizza. Had dessert back at our place, too!
  • Went to a Bandits softball game.
  • Blackhawks Convention!
Day 746: Year in Review

Got to love Toews and Kane!

  • Went to Christina’s baby shower and Anne’s bridal shower.
  • Cracker concert with Kate and Graham.
  • ALS ice bucket challenge. Yes, I did it twice.
  • Barbecue with friends at our house.
  • Met beautiful little Grace in August!
  • Vacation: Went to Wisconsin Dells over Labor Day weekend.
Day 746: Year in Review

Hanging out in Wisconsin Dells.

  • Celebrated Grandpa’s 87th birthday.
  • Anne’s bachelorette party in Chicago!
  • Laura and Tyler’s wedding in September.
  • My 10 Year Reunion. Yikes!
  • Anne and Ted’s wedding!
Day 746: Year in Review

A bunch of awesome ladies at Anne’s wedding!

Vacation: Las Vegas for Ray’s 30th birthday!

Day 746: Year in Review

The family together in Las Vegas for Ray’s 30th!

 

  • Carved pumpkins in October.
  • Went out for Halloween. Scott was a ninja turtle and I was Captain America!
  • Sydney was in the musical Annie Get Your Gun.
  • Started my new job in November!
  • Thanksgiving at my mom’s house.
  • Movie nights with Mickey.
Day 746: Year in Review

Hanging out with Mickey! I love this guy!

  • Mom’s 60th birthday celebration at McCormick and Schmick’s.
  • Spent day in Chicago seeing the Christkindlmarket and Wrigley Field.
  • U.S. and Cuba relations will be better soon, thanks to Obama!
  • Spent Christmas Eve with my family and Christmas Day with Scott’s family.
  • Went to Brookfield Zoo.
  • Movies I saw for the first time: The Hulk, Man of Steel, The Illusionist, Hoop Dreams, Saving Mr. Banks, Gone Girl, Interstellar, Bull Durham, The Godfather, and probably more

Sorry, that was a long list! The toughest part of this year was losing my Aunt Carol in August. She was a very caring a special woman and I’m still having a hard time without her. I can’t imagine how her children, grandchildren, and husband must be feeling. But, we have definitely been there for each other through this difficult time. I miss her so much. It really hurts sometimes.

One great thing I was able to accomplish this year was that I finished scanning all of my mom and dad’s old photos. This project took years, and I’m finally done! I’m so glad we have all of them as digital copies. I should make 1,000 copies, just in case!

Overall, this year was a good one. I have so many wonderful people in my life and I’m glad I got to spend time with them. There were some changes this year, but I think they are for the better. I can’t wait to see what will happen in 2015! I think it will be a good year, too, especially since I have Scott and great family and friends to make memories with. Goodbye 2014, and welcome 2015!

Day 743: Christmas Eve

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 743: Christmas Eve

Some family members eating Cuban food on Christmas Eve!

Happy holidays! It’s been a busy and fun few weeks, so it’s time for an update. My mom hosted the Cuban Christmas Eve for my dad’s side of the family again this year. This is actually the 27th time she hosted it; that’s a really long time! There were about 30 people; some of them are pictured eating above.

We started out by eating some delicious bocaditos made by my Uncle Paul. My mom cooks the pork and black beans and rice for the occasion. The food was really good! We all ate and mingled for a while. Then, the little kids sang some Christmas songs and opened presents. Some of the family played Cuban Bingo as well. It was good to see everyone! Here’s a family photo for you in front of the tree:

Day 743: Christmas Eve

Scott, me, Ray, and my mom.

Later on Christmas Eve night, I opened Christmas presents with my mom, Ray, Scott, my grandpa, and Uncle John. We stayed up really late, until around 2 a.m.! My family was way too generous this year… They are every year! I got some nice new tops, DVDs, scarves, a Blackhawks shirt, and so on. It was a wonderful Christmas Eve night with my family.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Day 735: Best/Worst of the Week

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 735: Best/Worst of the Week

Sadly I did not win these.

Here you go! The worst and best of the week. I’ll update on other things later in the week, I promise!

Worst
1. Scott’s uncle went in the hospital this week, but he’s getting better!
2. Seeing the aftermath of accidents on the highway.
3. Dry air. It’s ruining my skin.
4. I didn’t know how to turn off a very loud alarm this week. I was embarrassed.
5. I had a dream I married Barney from How I Met Your Mother. I didn’t really want to in the dream, so that was sad.

Best
1. Spent time with my grandpa.
2. I went to a trivia night with my brother.
3. I ate yummy meals made by my mom this week. The rosemary chicken was great!
4. I played poker with Scott and Ray. I lost, but it was fun!
5. I’m feeling more confident about things this week.

Enjoy your weekend!!